In a game where everyone looked like they would rather be at a holiday dinner, Minnesota defeated Green Bay 72-56 at Williams Arena. With the win, the Gophers improve to 10-1 on the season. It is Minnesota’s best start since the 2016-17 season. Jamison Battle led all players in scoring with 23 points.
Again, a successful non-conference game occurs when two objectives are met. Minnesota needs to win and no one can get injured. Absent that, it does not matter too much how the game was played. That caution is warranted doubly for games right before the holiday break.
The first half was atrocious for everyone not named Jamison Battle. Battle was wonderful, scoring fifteen and making Minnesota’s only three pointer of the half. The rest of the team had a woeful performance. Everyone not named Jamison Battle was 4-19 from the field, including 0-8 from deep. Defensively, Minnesota gave up three offensive rebounds and lets the Phoenix shoot almost 50% from the field (12-17 from inside the three point line).
The Gophers corrected coming out for the second half. Battle, Willis, and Loewe all hit from the field to open up a nine point lead just before the under 16 mark. Minnesota slowly extended that lead throughout the second half. Sean Sutherlin provided impactful minutes off the bench, consistently slashing to the basket for at the rim scores. Sutherlin had While the Phoenix made the game interesting with a few runs late, the Gophers held serve. A Jamison Battle three pointer with 50 seconds left in the game was the final nail in the coffin. Were I a better writer, I would make some joke about the Phoenix not arising from the ashes. Fill it in yourself dear reader.
Connor Onion was the lead broadcaster on tonight’s game, and I look forward to a future where all announcers could also be characters on Veggie-Tales.
Ben Johnson has some strong sideline out of bounds (SLOB) and baseline out of bounds (BLOB) plays after time outs (ATO). I have no idea what the practice time situation is for the team, but at least one play late worked because of events in-game. After a timeout with 3:22 to play in the second half, the Gophers ran a play that was based around Sutherlin’s ability to blow by his first defender. Green Bay was forced to collapse to the ball in the lane, and Jamison Battle was wide open to drain a three.
Payton Willis eclipsed 1000 points for his career in the first half. He also had a double double on the night (14/10/4), including a cold as ice three pointer off an isolation stare down.
Minnesota is off until the 29th, when they play Alcorn State at Williams Arena. No cheating, I bet few people can guess Alcorn State’s mascot.